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JUNE 16 - JUNE 24, 2015

Jayne Park "Scenic overlook" Can't Be Used by Wheelchair-Bound Here

By Mike Hudson

JUNE 16, 2015

Well done: If you thought the view was uninspiring for visitors who could stand upright, here is the view that the handicapped accessible overlook provides handicapped persons.
The cheaply constructed handicapped accessible overlook is small and provides little view for park visitors who are not handicapped. However, it is not easy to blow off $290,000 in a park that didn't really need the work.

The centerpiece of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster's $269,115 Jayne Park construction plan, a 10-by-20-foot "scenic overlook," built of wood and graded into the bank of the Little River on the south shore of Cayuga Island, complies with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and is fully wheelchair accessible.

The only problem is that the cheap wooden safety barrier, which looks for all the world like it came from Home Depot for use on a back yard deck, effectively blocks the view of anyone confined to a wheelchair who might wish to partake of the scenery.

The Jayne Park project, like the Griffon Park canoe launch project (see related article) was Dyster's answer to a problem that didn’t exist. The residents of Cayuga Island loved their bucolic little park to the point that, when the mayor and City Planner Tom DeSantis first announced their plan to "improve" it, opposition petitions were circulated and signed by people representing virtually every household on the island.

But Dyster saw money, cash that could be used to grease the political wheels down in Buffalo, where consultants, design engineers and lawyers make up a significant portion of his constituency. The mayor and DeSantis kept downsizing the scope of the project, eliminating basketball courts and a proposed canoe launch, until the opposition was worn down.

Now there is an ugly gash of asphalt, called a trail, which leads nowhere and replaces a natural earthen pathway created by generations of strolling islanders; a playground paved with wood chips, the cheap, white trash alternative to rubber; and the "scenic overlook," designed in such a way so as to deny a view to the wheelchair bound citizens it was meant to serve.

The $269,115 covered just the construction of the jumbled mess, as various design elements had been contracted out starting back when Dyster and DeSantis first cooked up the scheme. The final contract for the work was awarded to Scott Lawn Yard Inc. on October 7 of last year. While some municipal projects are undertaken to actually serve a useful purpose, others are built simply because of the availability of funding, all of which belongs to the taxpayer, regardless of where it comes from. In the case of the latter, you get things like a scenic overlook that can’t be used by those it was built to serve.





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